Royals

World Series notebook: Giants groundskeeper says no gamesmanship involved in wet infield

Mo'ne Davis waves to the crowd during opening game ceremonies prior to game four of the World Series on Saturday, October 25, 2014 at AT&T Park in San Francisco, Calif.
Mo'ne Davis waves to the crowd during opening game ceremonies prior to game four of the World Series on Saturday, October 25, 2014 at AT&T Park in San Francisco, Calif. The Kansas City Star

Did the Giants intentionally spray too much water on the AT&T Park infield before World Series game three Friday?

Neither manager thought so, although the Royals’ Ned Yost said it was “a little extra wet around first,” recalling Mike Moustakas coming up “extremely muddy” after a dive back to first base on a pickoff attempt.

The Giants’ Bruce Bochy said he “didn’t notice” the infield being wet and said he didn’t ask for extra moisture from the grounds crew.

Yost wouldn’t say if it was an attempt at gamesmanship to slow down the Royals on the basepaths.

“Maybe the groundskeeper just was looking at all the Royals fans up in the corner there and just forgot,” he said.

Greg Elliott, the Giants groundskeeper, told the San Francisco Chronicle that he didn’t change the way he prepares the infield.

“The Dodgers say it. The Diamondbacks say it. The Rockies say it,” Elliott said. “They all say it on TV that we’re trying to slow them down with our water. In reality, it’s what our shortstop wants. It’s what our infielders want. They want the ball to stay down. …

“No gamesmanship, is what I’m trying to say.”

Bumgarner not trying to ‘run the team’

Bochy reiterated before Saturday’s game that he would not alter his rotation for the rest of the series, meaning Madison Bumgarner would pitch game five and if needed, Jake Peavy would pitch game six and Tim Hudson would start a seventh game.

There had been speculation the Giants would use Bumgarner on short rest in game four and push Ryan Vogelsong back to game five — and a quote attributed to Bumgarner almost made that option seem certain.

According to ESPN’s Peter Gammons, Bumgarner told teammates before Friday’s game three that “my pitching tomorrow is not an issue. I am. I will not take no for an answer.”

Bumgarner denied the quote Saturday, saying he knew pitching game four might be an option but that “everybody in that clubhouse has all the confidence in the world in Vogey. …

“It sounds like I’m trying to run the team, which I’m certainly not. That’s no good that that got out there somehow. … I never said anything to anyone about anything.”

Revisiting the Red Sox series

Yost was asked before Saturday’s game if the Royals’ series against the Red Sox in September had a result in figuring out how to deploy his bullpen.

“No, the only thing I remember … was I was just really (ticked) off,” Yost said.

In the final game of the series, Yost brought Aaron Crow into the game in the sixth inning with two on and one out to protect a 4-3 lead. The move backfired and the Royals dropped three of four to the last-place Red Sox, losing ground in the AL Central race.

After the game, Yost said it was “frustrating” that the Royals were one out away from getting to use Kelvin Herrera and that he didn’t bring him in because “Aaron Crow’s inning is the sixth inning. Kelvin’s is the seventh.”

Crow walked Yoenis Cespedes after falling behind 3-0 but then struck out Allen Craig. Up came Daniel Nava, a switch hitter who is better against right-handers, but Yost stuck with Crow and Nava deposited a grand slam into the Red Sox bullpen in right field.

Yost’s hard-and-fast strategy of using Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland exclusively in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings changed late and the season and into the postseason, when Herrera has been called on in the sixth inning in four of the Royals’ 11 games.

Etc.

▪ Even in the midst of a World Series, the Royals made a tweak to their 40-man roster Saturday, claiming outfielder Moises Sierra, 26, off waivers from the White Sox and designating right-hander Liam Hendriks, 25, for assignment.

Hendriks was acquired with backup catcher Erik Kratz from Toronto for Danny Valencia on July 29.

▪ Entering game four, the Royals were one victory by a relief pitcher and one save by Greg Holland away from setting major-league records for a single postseason. Seven of the Royals’ 10 wins have been credited to relief pitchers, tying the 2003 Marlins, and Holland has saved seven games, tying five others, most recently Koji Uehara of the 2013 Red Sox.

▪ The Angels’ Mike Trout and Marlins’ Giancarlo Stanton were presented with the Hank Aaron Award before game four by commissioner Bud Selig and Aaron. The award given to the best hitter from each league as voted on by fans and media.

▪ Saturday’s game four was the 63rd World Series game played in California. Only two states have played host to more Fall Classic games: New York with 191, and Missouri with 71, including nine by the Royals. California is tied with Pennsylvania but will move alone into third place after game five.

To reach Chris Fickett, call 816-234-4354 or send email to cfickett@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter: @ChrisFickett.

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